Aug Breathing Space

I believe there are remarkable spirits walking around dressed up like normal people and  Betty Prestwich is one of them. Betty joined the Wellness Within yoga class after hearing my presentation at the Healing Journeys conference last Fall. She has gone on to attend Patti’s group, the meditation circle, and has taken hikes with Margie. She said “I was super impressed with what I saw happening at Wellness Within,” and consistently brings friends in to see what WW has to offer. I recently had the privilege of talking with Betty about her life.

Betty is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and also has a Masters of Divinity. With that, she’s one of the most down-to-earth people I know and loves to hike, exercise, and walk daily. Initially, she wanted to get a doctorate but chose to become a social worker instead. Betty found she loved it, was good at it, and it became her career. Instead of sitting behind a desk, Betty jumped right in to leading groups of clients in money management, established a group for girls, set up the County Affirmative Action Program, and moved into supervising and management. She also trained employees for professional growth. Throughout all of it, Betty always let her spirituality inform her choices.

She now leads worship groups and study groups for a small church. Betty reads all of the time and is frequently seen in the Wellness Within library. Her current studies are in dealing with grief in an open, mindful way. She also has a beautiful garden and is devoted to her animals.

Betty was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and completed chemo and radiation early in 2012. She describes feeling that “I never really dwelt on it because I consider myself a spiritual being who happened to have cancer.” In Patti’s group, she especially liked the dialogue with symptoms and the mindful practices she learned. A lot of it was enhancement, but it gave her a focus she didn’t have. She enjoyed the bond that was created with the other women and felt a sense of gratitude in response to what was going on. “I got a lot of tools and it helped me to deal with my situation when I saw what others were dealing with. Sometimes I was a little nervous, but I was always game. I couldn’t have made a better decision.”

When Betty began yoga, she had vertigo and dizziness. It’s gone now, and she absolutely loves yoga. “What it’s done for me is the relaxation. I also measure my blood pressure before and after, and it’s always about 20 points lower! I’m not very good at it (yoga), but I feel perfectly comfortable where I am at and not worried about what I can’t do. This allows me to get more out of it.”

Thank you, Betty, for being such a brave and wonderful person. I’ve learned so much from you and appreciate the way you quietly share your knowledge and experience with those around you. I think that my yoga class and Wellness Within are all the richer for having you with us!

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

Susan Whitaker About Susan Whitaker

Susan is the owner of Canyon Spirit Yoga Center in Auburn, Ca. and primary yoga instructor at Wellness Within. She has Yoga teaching certifications from Kripalu Center and Integrative Yoga Therapy. Susan continues to teach and study in the areas of yoga therapy, creating individual practices, and yoga as a healing art.

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